The 2014 NBA playoffs have gotten off to an incredible start, but the first round isn't done yet as a few teams continue to fight to make it to the next round.
While the Miami Heat were able to sweep the Charlotte Bobcats in just four games, every other playoff series has been much more competitive. There have been plenty of road wins and thrilling endings in the first round, but it still isn't over yet.
Below is a look at the remaining schedule for the first round of the NBA playoffs, followed by a preview of the biggest games to watch for on Thursday night.
Round 1 Schedule
|Round 1 Playoff Schedule|
|Thursday, May 1||Series||Time (ET)||TV|
|Pacers at Hawks||Atlanta leads 3-2||7 p.m.||NBATV|
|Thunder at Grizzlies||Memphis leads 3-2||8 p.m.||TNT|
|Clippers at Warriors||Los Angeles leads 3-2||10:30 p.m.||TNT|
|Friday, May 2|
|Raptors at Nets||Toronto leads 3-2||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Spurs at Mavericks||San Antonio leads 3-2||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Rockets at Trail Blazers||Portland leads 3-2||10:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Saturday, May 3|
|Pacers at Hawks||(if necessary)||TBD||TNT|
|Grizzlies at Thunder||(if necessary)||TBD||TNT|
|Warriors at Clippers||(if necessary)||TBD||TNT|
|Sunday, May 4|
|Mavericks at Spurs||(if necessary)||TBD||FSSW|
|Nets at Raptors||(if necessary)||TBD||TBD|
|Trail Blazers at Rockets||(if necessary)||TBD||CSN Houston|
Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks
Date: Thursday, May 1
Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBA TV
The Indiana Pacers were struggling in the second half of the season heading into the playoffs, but fans were hoping that they would be able to turn things around once the postseason began.
That hasn't been the case.
Instead, the Pacers now find themselves on the brink of elimination against the Atlanta Hawks, a team that had just a 38-44 record heading into the playoffs. One of the biggest reasons for Indiana's struggles has been Roy Hibbert, who is averaging just 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 31.3 percent.
As ESPN Stats & Info points out, Hibbert's player efficiency rating as an All-Star in the playoffs has been historically awful.
While head coach Frank Vogel has been stubborn in regards to changing his lineup, he may be finally giving into the pressure for Game 6. Paul George hinted at a possible lineup change on Wednesday, according to Michael Pointer from The Indianapolis Star.
"We like our new schemes, our new game plan," George said. "We've got to get prepared for a tough one and get the series back (to Indianapolis)."
While the Pacers' struggles have been well documented, the strong play from the Hawks behind the arc has been a big help, as they've made 11.8 three-pointers per game in this series.
If the Pacers are unable to defend the three-point shooters of Atlanta in Game 6, then they could be going home early after such high expectations all year.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies
Date: Thursday, May 1
Time: 8 p.m. ET
If you haven't been watching this series, you've been missing out.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies have continued to play an incredibly physical brand of basketball, and both sides have been fighting for an edge. The Grizzlies currently lead the series 3-2, but the last four games have gone to overtime.
Kevin Durant has put the Thunder on his back all year, averaging 32 points per game while shooting 50.3 percent during the regular season. However, those numbers haven't been as impressive against the Grizzlies. He's still putting up 28 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, but he's shooting just 40 percent.
ESPN's Mike Greenberg has noticed the struggles as well but believes that Durant won't get the same criticism that LeBron James received in 2011 if the Thunder are eliminated this early from the playoffs.
Playing in four straight playoff overtime games can be exhausting, but Thunder head coach Scott Brooks doesn't want any excuses from his star player, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.com.
"The great ones just continue to focus on the next game," Brooks said. "He's a great one. He's one of the greatest players in the world. He has to be able to continue to step up and take those shots, and he will. I have the utmost respect for his game."
If Thursday's game goes down to the wire once again, all eyes will be on Durant to see if he can step up. If he's unable to help lead the Thunder to the next round, then the critics may begin to get a little louder.
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